District shouldn’t have to go hat in hand for water

Sicamous mayor and council to hit up the B.C. government for funding for stable, clean water supply.

This week, Sicamous’ mayor and council are hitting up the B.C. government for funding so the community can finally have a stable, clean water supply.

The mayor and council have arranged to meet with a number of ministers at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention. Council’s number one priority is water. In particular, they hope to secure funding for a water treatment plant upgrade that is estimated to cost up to $4.5 million.

Granted, this is not a small amount of money for anyone, let alone the supposedly cash-strapped B.C. government. But still, it’s troubling that Sicamous has to go, hat in hand, to the province to seek funding for something that is clearly a need.

For the past thee months, following the debris flow in Two Mile and the flooding from Shuswap and Mara lakes, District of Sicamous residents have been on some form of order restricting water use and consumption. The district, in response, has had to spend thousands of dollars trucking in clean water.

While the district and Interior Health have done a bang-up job in terms of monitoring water quality and keeping the public informed, this doesn’t mean we can ignore the warning of Walkerton, Ont., and what can happen as a result of inadequate water treatment practices.

In May, many of B.C.’s mayors – including Sicamous Mayor Darrell Trouton – met for the first time under the umbrella of the BC Mayor’s Caucus. One of the things this group agreed on was that communities shouldn’t have to go through an ad hoc granting process to acquire funding to meet community needs. Hopefully this group will be vigilant in pushing this point.

And hopefully the B.C. government’s response to the request of Sicamous’ UBCM delegation is one that recognizes the serious nature of the matter, and is not just a heads up on a grant opportunity that wouldn’t be awarded until just right before the next provincial election.